Posted by: DD | March 27, 2007

no. 410 – Adjective Trap (Corrected Link)

I read this article in one of the papers today at lunch. I would love to go further into the "labeling" we see more and more of (in spite of, or because of – Political Correctness?) but I’ve been pleasantly busy.

What next? IUI Daughter? IVF Son? Donor Sperm Twins? Donor Egg Siblings?

"As a child is a child, a family is a family", no matter the means it was achieved; so if we shudder at the above adjectives, then we should re-examine how we use Step-, Foster-, and Adopted-.

..or maybe even…Biological-.

(My sincere apologies as I was trying to post on the fly. I think I now have it going to the correct publication.)



  1. I think you got the wrong link. That article didn’t discuss labeling at all.

  2. The specific article that link goes to is for the 3/27 daily column so I read that one and wondered what play had to do with labelling. 🙂 (Although I did really love his article on play because I totally agree with it and I think (based on my Girl Scouts) that kids no longer know how to self entertain anymore since their lives are so structured and if they are ‘bored’ they don’t do well.) 🙂

    As to the labelling article, it is all ridiculous I think. My kids will be adopted kids (as you know) and the odds are good that they won’t look a thing like me, they’ll just be my kids. I don’t really intend to call them ‘my adopted child x’. I guess by trying to make the kid feel special and trying to understand their special circumstance, really everything is just getting worse.

  3. The link isn’t right is it?

  4. You know – this just made me think – Kelsey came home one time when she was in 3rd or 4th grade, all upset because of one of the bullies at school. The thing they were teasing her about? They were saying she was adopted.

    Which broke my heart – because while Kelsey’s not adopted, they don’t know if there were any other kids in that group who ARE, and who were somehow made to feel less worthy because of it. I always thought adoption was cool growing up. The one girl I knew who was adopted (Tara!) always made a big deal about how her parents PICKED her, becuase she was THE BEST. (Yeah, maybe her parents had gone overboard a little, because she was pretty boastful, and SO an only child.

  5. Oooh, deep thoughts off of this one. I don’t label either of my kids adopted or biological but I would bet that other people do.

    I think it all boils down to how you consider your children. They will learn so much about their identity from you. If we are always saying, “Yes, these are my boys, Teenage boy (who is adopted) and Little boy (who is biological after many many many infertility treatments)”, isn’t that how they will label themselves too?

    But that could just be the wine talking tonight.

  6. There is a difference between labeling people, which makes it sound like we’re calling them names; and noting the differences between people, but loving them equally no matter what.

    I’ve read this guy’s stuff before, and I have to be honest, I’m not a fan. I have ADD and while I don’t appreciate a stereotypical label, I’d like the media to believe it exists, so I can get medical treatment without getting crapped on.

    Same for being adopted, I’d like to be loved equally within the family, but pretending I’m not adopted, like when my Amom said, “You look just like your grandmother,” when that is clearly impossible, well, that’s just odd. It felt like she was telling me my own eyes were lying when I looked in the mirror.

    We don’t have to introduce each other with labels every ten seconds, but treating differences with quiet respect, like they are just another wonderful kind of normal seems like a good way, IMO.

    (And DD, I’m going to reply to that email, and this comment might be the start, I guess…)

  7. While I don’t entirely dislike the gist of the article (disagreeing in that I do believe that if I had tried to blend a family, we would have special issues that completely fit a label – and so what! – plus we’re single parent and only – so what – the label fits!), I must say that loathe John Rosemond and have for quite some time. I used to read him, but he pissed me off too much. He’s pretty high and mighty combined with a big dose of holier than thou.

  8. We started early on the imps, and now they make fun of their ‘white’ daddy.


  9. Makes me shudder to think what comes next!?

  10. Ah yes, these labels — I can understand them on the one hand, in a forum for adoptive parents to discuss their specific issues, for example — but when they just get perpetuated in the mainstream media, it does tend to suggest that adoptive families (for example) are substantially different from “regular” families (snort). And I hate that articles on people always specifically mention which of their children were adopted, as if that’s something that makes all the societal difference in the world.

  11. I hate that labelling thing but unfortunately, that’s what society does.

    My husband calls and feels about my children as ‘his’ children -which technically they are not – my children call him Dad and they call their father Papa. Dad raised them since they were 1 year old and is The Dad in every sense of the word (speaking of labelling..)

    I can’t stand it if people ask if my husband is their biological father. Why on earth would that make a difference?

  12. Do I hate labeling? Yes. I have a biological son and will have an adopted son from Ethiopia, and they’ll both be my sons. My son doesn’t call his soon-to-be little brother his “adopted brother”, he’s just his little brother. They will look nothing alike and who cares? I agree with the fact that a family is a family.

    But I disagree with the idea that there are no differences in the way that they’ll be raised. Our younger son will have a lot more changes happening in his life that we’ll need to deal with than our older son. We need to pay particular attention to incorporating his culture and heritage into our family; if we didn’t do that, we’d be doing him a terrible disservice.

  13. I think that what gets to me about the political correctness “stuff” is that it has not really seemed to help increase tolerance or understanding. So if someone now says mentally challenged intead of retarded but they are still smirking or using the term in a nasty way, how is it better? (and by the way, I am not even really sure which is the current correct label for this particular human condition!)

    I am also finding the bio vs not (adopted, donor, whatever) language frustrating and baffling at times. How is a birth father really a birth father when he did not give birth and in many cases is not involved and why is bio a “bad” label anyway?

    If we need a label at all, that is??

  14. I’m with Cricket–it’s not that I don’t agree with some of his points, but he states his opinions so emphatically that they’re a bit of a turn off. Why can’t we call adults by their first names? No explanation–just a it-should-never-be-done. Those types of statements shut me off from the rest of his thoughts.

    It sort of smacks a bit of Stephen Colbert’s “I’m colour-blind” joke. The labels shouldn’t be limits, but they should be helpful guidelines in order to celebrate/explain relationships or to guide choices. How does it help to pretend that these differences don’t exist?

    What was your reaction to the article, DD?

  15. I had to blog on this ’cause my comment was getting way too long… thanks for giving me something to think about.

  16. I actually don’t mind labeling and I don’t think it is inherently evil. I think that the intent of the person doing the labeling is what makes it evil.

    The author of that articles was actually confusing two separate issues. I agree that parenting and relationship principals don’t need to change based on how a family came together, but I don’t think that labeling the members of your family in different ways necessarily contradicts that.

    I call my step-dad by his first name, but I refer to him and my mom collectively as my parents. When I speak to other people about him, I refer to him as my step-dad. However, he was the one who walked me down the aisle when I got married while my dad sat in the pews with the rest of my family.

  17. I read the link and thought it made a lot of sense. Then again, Rosemond often makes a lot of sense to me. For example, even if my oldest does have ADHD, it doesn’t mean that I ultimately expect different things out of him. We may have to take slightly different paths to get there, but I still expect the same destination.

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